EastEnders has released the first pictures of Lofty Holloway and Mary Smith’s return, three decades after the characters were last on screen. Tom Watt and Linda Davidson will reprise their respective roles in early 2019 when the characters attend the funeral of Walford legend Dr Harold Legg as he loses his battle with pancreatic cancer.
A new image shows Watt and Davidson on the Queen Vic set with old colleague June Brown, aka Dot Branning, as the cast reunite to pay their respects to the Albert Square GP.
When did Lofty and Mary the punk leave EastEnders?
Watt, who left in April 1988, says of his comeback: “I have nothing but good memories of my time on EastEnders so it will be lovely to set foot back in Albert Square all these years later. I was delighted when (the show’s executive consultant) John Yorke asked me if I would return – Dr Legg is an iconic character so it feels fitting that Lofty should return to say goodbye.”
Lovable loser Lofty, known by his nickname rather than his actual christian name George, is best remembered for being jilted at the altar by Michelle Fowler in 1986 after the teenager single mum rejected his offer of providing a stable family for her and baby Vicki, the love child of ‘Chelle and pub landlord Lothario ‘Dirty’ Den Watts. The pair eventually did marry but the mismatched romance ended when Michelle aborted their baby, and heartbroken Lofty left – apparently to become a social worker.
Davidson’s alter ego was brittle and brash by comparison, a hard-bitten northern single mother known for her punk aesthetic, drinking, drug-taking and descent into prostitution. She was last seen in May 1988 boarding a bus out of Walford with daughter Annie after clashing with her interfering parents. “EastEnders was my first proper family,” says the actress. “It gave me stability and a fantastic foundation from which to build an incredible life. The people I met have been a consistent thread throughout the intervening years. I am thrilled and proud to be returning to that family 35 years later. It’s going to be a blast!”
When does Dr Legg die?
Yorke also speaks fondly of the two talents he has managed to secure for the special episode. “I’m absolutely thrilled to have Tom and Linda back for these small but incredibly important roles. As soon as Leonard Fenton agreed to triton as Dr Legg, it seemed the best possible tribute we could pay both his character and the show.
“Mary and Lofty are huge, iconic characters, and a central part of the show’s DNA. Though both have moved on to hugely successful careers elsewhere we are both thrilled and touched to have them back for one very special episode.”
Fenton, a member of the original 1985 cast line-up as was Watt and Davidson, reappeared earlier this autumn in a storyline that saw Dr Legg confide in old friend Dot he was suffering from cancer but did not want any further treatment. The plot is set to reach an emotional climax when the good doctor dies and the community gathers to remember him. Will there be any more surprise comebacks at the funeral?
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